US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. Putting Chicago into detox (Chicago Tribune)

For aldermen addicted to binge spending, former White House chief of staff Mayor Rahm Emanuel's rigorous budget is one step toward recovery.

2. Tied up in knots (Washington Post)

What's the GOP's favorite solution? asks E.J. Dionne. Doing nothing.

3. How to Stop the Drop in Home Values (New York Times)

The only real solution to plummeting home values is to permanently reduce the mortgage debt hanging over America, writes Martin S. Feldstein.

4. Education: Too much testing? (Los Angeles Times)

This editorial argues that Gov. Jerry Brown was wrong to veto SB 547, but he made important points about the love of learning.

5. The price of privacy (Boston Globe)

Juliette Kayyem asks: What's in a name? When it's an FBI source, quite a lot. The BG, its competitors, readers, and a lot of media critics are now arguing over the Globe's decision to report the name of the tipster who led the FBI to fugitive James "Whitey'' Bulger.

6. Can Occupy Wall Street give progressives a lift? (Washington Post)

OWS must raise the consciousness of backsliding congressional Democrats who have decided that, unlike the president, they do not believe that "the rich" begin at household incomes of $250,000, says George F. Will.

7. Henninger: The Unsinkable Mitt Romney (Wall Street Journal)

According to Danniel Henninger, this candidate will have to be pushed a lot harder to make him a good president.

8. Pop goes the bubble of Obama's phantom green jobs (San Francisco Chronicle)

Before the Senate failed to pass his American Jobs Act Tuesday, President Obama made a last-ditch speech to talk up his troubled bill. But not once did Obama mention "green jobs" - his erstwhile jobs of the future, Debra J. Saunders reminds readers.

9. Life-and-death power of AIDS funding (Politico)

Elton John and Senator Bill Nelson pen an op-ed, arguing that reducing the medication offered by government assistance programs is shortsighted.

10. Fight ban on single-sex schools (USA Today)

Christina Hoff Sommers feels that eight misguided academics are meddling with public education.

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Britain is running out of allies as it squares up to Russia

For whatever reason, Donald Trump is going to be no friend of an anti-Russia foreign policy.

The row over Donald Trump and that dossier rumbles on.

Nothing puts legs on a story like a domestic angle, and that the retired spy who compiled the file is a one of our own has excited Britain’s headline writers. The man in question, Christopher Steele, has gone to ground having told his neighbour to look after his cats before vanishing.

Although the dossier contains known errors, Steele is regarded in the intelligence community as a serious operator not known for passing on unsubstantiated rumours, which is one reason why American intelligence is investigating the claims.

“Britain's role in Trump dossier” is the Telegraph’s splash, “The ‘credible’ ex-MI6 man behind Trump Russia report” is the Guardian’s angle, “British spy in hiding” is the i’s splash.

But it’s not only British headline writers who are exercised by Mr Steele; the Russian government is too. “MI6 officers are never ex,” the Russian Embassy tweeted, accusing the UK of “briefing both ways - against Russia and US President”. “Kremlin blames Britain for Trump sex storm” is the Mail’s splash.

Elsewhere, Crispin Blunt, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, warns that relations between the United Kingdom and Russia are as “bad as they can get” in peacetime.

Though much of the coverage of the Trump dossier has focused on the eyecatching claims about whether or not the President-Elect was caught in a Russian honeytrap, the important thing, as I said yesterday, is that the man who is seven days from becoming President of the United States, whether through inclination or intimidation, is not going to be a reliable friend of the United Kingdom against Russia.

Though Emanuel Macron might just sneak into the second round of the French presidency, it still looks likely that the final choice for French voters will be an all-Russia affair, between Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen.

For one reason or another, Britain’s stand against Russia looks likely to be very lonely indeed.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.